Ugadi Festival is the “Telugu New Year” festival for the people of the Deccan region of India. It falls on the Thidi, Chaitra Suddha Padyami. According to the Hindu, Calendar, Chaitra is the first month of the new year, and Suddha Padyami is the first day.
Ugadi Festival and Origin of Ugadi word:
The term Ugadi came from the Sanskrit word Yugadi, Yuga means to age, and Adi is beginning. So Yugadi implies the beginning of a new year. There were other stories about Ugadi’s origin when Lord Krishna left the world. Maharshi Vedavyasa said to his disciples the Kaliyuga started. Kaliyuga’s start date is also called Yugadi.
In another story, Lord Brahma started the creation of the Universe on the auspicious day of Ugadi or Chaitra suddha Padyami. So this day Ugadi indicates it is the first day of Yuga. The lunar calendar has a 60 years cycle and starts the New Year on Ugadi. Ugadi marks a change in the Lunar Orbit and the beginning of the new Hindu Lunar Calendar. The festival is celebrated everywhere in India with different names.
Ugadi Festival Celebrations:
On the day of Ugadi, people wake up early, do head baths, and wear new dresses. After, they decorate the Temples with different fresh flowers and Mango leaves. The people also decorate their houses and Pooja Mandhirs with flowers, especially Jasmin flowers and fresh Mango leaves.
There is an exciting story behind decorating the Pooja Rooms with Mango leaves. Lord Ganesha and Lord Karthikeya, sons of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi, loved eating mangoes. Karthikeya urged the people that if they hung the fresh leaves of Mango trees at the doorways, their Mango trees would give a good yield, so the people believed it and followed.
Ugadi Festival Special Panchanga Sravanam :
Panchanga Sravanam is an essential activity on the day of Ugadi. The Priests chant the mantras and worship God with the devotees. After worshipping Gods in the temple, the devotees gathered before the Idols of God and sat silently. The Priests sit beside the Idols and start reading the Panchangam for the New Year. Here Panchanga Sravanam means predicting the wealth and prosperity of the society. And also indicate how the Crops are grown and the weather conditions and explains the devotee’s worth in the New Year; according to their names, Panchanga Sravanam is a precious, valued task. The Hindu Scriptures state that listeners and the reader reap the benefits. After the Panchanga Sravanam, the listeners respectfully thank the reader, offer him New clothes, and seek their blessings.
Ugadi Festival Pickle :
Every household prepares the Ugadi pickle as the symbolic eating of a dish with six tastes on the day of the Ugadi. This Pickle is made with a mixture of Neem Flowers, Jaggery Green Chilli, Salt, Tamarind Juice and Unripened Mango. These six tastes indicate the various levels in our life journey.
- Neem Flowers – is bitterness – signifying Sadness.
- Jaggery – is Sweetness – signifying Sweetness.
- Salt – is saltiness – signifying fear.
- Green Chilli – is hot taste – signifying anger.
- Tamarind Juice – is sour – disgust.
- Unripened Mango – is tang – surprise.
The Pickle tastes bitter, sweet and sour tastes. Each reminds us life is a combination of happiness and sad events, and we remain ready to accept everything in life. All the family members taste this Ugadi Pickle and are conscious that life is temporary.
In such a way, Indians celebrate the Ugadi festival with great joy.